Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cold Weather Tips from the ASPCA

Brrrr…it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.
  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mock CGC Evaluation Results

The first Mock CGC Evaluation at the Dude Ranch went very well. Dog owners had the chance to watch others run through the ten stations of the test, then try it for themselves. For anyone who has never tested a dog for anything, this run-through takes the mystery out of it. At the same time, the dog owner can clearly see where they are in the process of preparing for the real test.

We plan to provide this opportunity quarterly. Dates will be announced by email, on my website and in this blog.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Give Back During the Holidays

The economy is in tatters, folks. Think for a moment about those among us who are on the edge during good times. The holidays are approaching. Have you ever thought that when times are bad people may no longer be able to afford to feed their pets? Henrico County's Christmas Mother campaign has addressed this very real possibility. For the first time this year they are accepting pet food donations. Please remember the animals when you donate. And if you don't live in Henrico County, check with your local Christmas Mother campaign or with Meals on Wheels, who take pet food donations year round. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Graduating Class

Meet Ozzy the German Shepherd, Argente the Newfoundland, and Red the Golden Retriever. They just graduated from Intermediate Obedience Class. Congratulations to them and their people!